Gulf of Aden Security Review - February 7, 2013

Yemen: Gunmen storm a police station in al Shihr, Hadramawt and disarm soldiers; security forces detain al Qaeda suspect in Khormaksar, Aden; AQAP offers to release Saudi government official for $15 million; explosion in 25th Mechanized Brigade armory; demonstrations in Taiz over labor law; President Hadi sends letter to Iranian President Ahmadinejad to stop supporting separatists and smuggling arms to Yemen

Horn of AfricaSomali and AMISOM troops attack al Shabaab checkpoint in Mudale, Gedo region; unknown gunmen kill one civilian, injure two more in Garissa, Kenya; Kenya is withdrawing 20 percent of its troops from Somalia; Britain to send British Army advisors to Mogadishu; the Somali offers $5,000 for accurate information on al Shabaab; Somali president says his government will never negotiate with al Shabaab; an Interpol delegation arrives in Mogadishu

Yemen Security Brief

  • Gunmen stormed a police station in al Shihr, Hadramawt governorate, disarmed the soldiers inside and gave them twelve hours to leave the city on February 7. There were twelve gunmen, suspected of being members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).[1]
  • Yemeni security forces detained an AQAP suspect, nicknamed “Abu Khaled,” on February 6 in Khormaksar, Aden governorate. The suspect, who is a Saudi national of Yemeni descent, reportedly admitted that he had fought with al Qaeda in Abyan governorate, and in Rada’a district, al Bayda governorate.[2]
  • AQAP presented the Yemeni government with an offer, through tribal mediators, to immediately release Saudi Vice Consul Abdullah al Khalidi for $15 million on February 5.[3]
  • A large explosion in the armory of the 25th Mechanized Brigade in Abs, Hajjah governorate killed two children and wounded eight soldiers on February 7.[4]
  • Thousands of workers demonstrated in Taiz city on February 6, demanding an amendment to labor laws, an increase in private sector salaries, and the passage of new social insurance measures. Protests by the University of Taiz faculty against university leadership have also continued for over three weeks.[5]
  • President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi revealed that he had sent a letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, asking him to stop supporting former Yemeni Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh and the Southern Mobility Movement, and to stop shipping arms to Iran, in an address to the members of the Technical Committee tasked with preparation for the National Dialogue on February 7.[6]
  • Abdul Majid al Zindani blamed the Technical Committee and the unity government for failing to include clerics in the preparation for the National Dialogue at a press conference at his residence in the Dares area of Sana’a on February 7.[7]

Horn of Africa Security Review

  • Somali and AMISOM troops attacked an al Shabaab checkpoint in Mudale, Gedo region on February 7. AMISOM officials said that they inflicted many al Shabaab casualties, confiscated four AK-47s, a vehicle and communication equipment, and also successfully dismantled the roadblock.[8]
  • Unknown gunmen opened fire on a car full on civilians in Garissa, Kenya on February 7. One civilian was killed and two others were injured. The shooters were able to flee the scene.[9]
  • Kenya is planning on withdrawing around 20 percent of its troops from Somalia throughout February and March. Replacing the Kenyan troops will be a battalion of 850 soldiers from Sierra Leone.[10]
  • Britain plans to deploy a small team of British Army advisors to Mogadishu during the spring, to help train AMISOM soldiers in their fight against al Shabaab.[11]
  • Somali Interior and National Security Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled announced that the Somali government will give $5,000 to anyone who provides accurate information about al Shabaab, according to a February 6 report.[12]
  • Contrary to a statement he previously released, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud announced on February 6 that his government will never negotiate with al Shabaab under any circumstances.[13]
  • An official delegation from Interpol arrived in Mogadishu on February 7 to meet with officials from the Somali and AMISOM police forces.[14]       

[1] “Gunmen Attack Police Station in al Shihr City and Strip Soldiers of Their Weapons,” Barakish Net, February 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=44427
[2] “Al Qaeda Suspect of Arab Nationality Detained in ‘Aden,” Barakish Net, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44408
[3] “Al Qaeda Proposes Releasing al Khalidi for $15 million,” Barakish Net, February 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=11&id=44429
[4] “Breaking: Two Children Killed and Eight Soldiers Wounded in Armory Explosions in 25th Mechanized Brigade,” Barakish Net, February 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://barakish.net/news.aspx?cat=12&sub=12&id=44421
[5] “Thousands of Workers Demonstrate in Taiz to Change Labor Laws,” al Masdar Online, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://almasdaronline.com/article/41349
[6] “President Hadi: I asked Ahmadinejad to Stop Support Salem al Beidh,” al Oula, February 7, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://aloulaye.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=4903:0000-00-00%2000:00:00&Itemid=59
[7] “Cleric council is dismayed by representation of Jews in dialogue conference and distancing of clerics, powerful interests,” al Khabar Now, February 6, 2013 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.alkhabarnow.net/news/34410/2013/02/07/
[8] “AMISOM Overruns Al Shabaab Ambush Point in Gedo,” Bar Kulan, February 7, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/07/amisom-overruns-al-shabaab-ambush-point-in-gedo/
[9] “Gunmen Kill One Person, Inure Two in Garissa,” Bar Kulan, February 7, 2013. Available: http://www.bar-kulan.com/2013/02/07/gunmen-kill-one-person-injure-two-in-garissa/
[10] “Kenya Set to Withdraw Somalia Battalion,” Daily Nation, February 7, 2013. Available: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Kenya-set-to-withdraw-Somalia-battalion-/-/1056/1687466/-/11ta9v1/-/index.html
[11] “British Troops go to Somalia in Advance on Troublespots,” The Times, February 7, 2013. Available: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/defence/article3680432.ece
[12] “Mogadishu Offers Cash For Info on Al Shabaab,” Africa Review, February 6, 2013. Available: http://www.africareview.com/News/Mogadishu-offers-cash-for-info-on-Al-Shabaab/-/979180/1686648/-/hm7jjxz/-/index.html
[13] “President Hassan: ‘We Will Not Negotiation with al Shabaab,” BBC Somali Service, February 6, 2013. Available: http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/february-7-2013-morning-headlines/
[14] “Officials From the Interpol Arrive in Mogadishu,” Kulmiye News, February 7, 2013. Available: http://www.kulmiyenews.com/?nid=12099